The London Stock Exchange (LSE) subsidiary Borsa Italiana has announced plans to digitize securities certificate data with the adoption of IBM Blockchain.
The partnership between LSE and IBM will give small private European companies the opportunity to interact with shareholders and vice versa. It will also simplify the tracking and management of information by recording all shareholder transactions.
Commenting on the deal to Bitcoin Magazine, Ed Clark, senior press officer at the LSE, said, “It has the potential to allow private SMEs [small- and medium-sized enterprises] to replace the paper-based system that currently exists that is both opaque and inefficient. Greater transparency could lend itself to trading opportunities in the future.”
Clark stressed that the development with IBM was initiated by the Italian subsidiary, adding, “This was a business-led initiative that came from Borsa Italiana — not built by LSE tech guys and then applied to a business-case, bottom-up approach.”
The solution is undergoing an initial test phase with a small group of LSE partners and clients. So far, the move is being met with approval by blockchain and exchange specialists.
Patrick Young, executive director of DV Advisors, an advisory company for exchanges, told Bitcoin Magazine, “The LSE deploying blockchain [technology] for private company data management makes eminent sense. It’s a simple first-level deployment as opposed to a radical shift involving retirement of legacy non-DL [distributed ledger] technology.”
This blockchain solution, developed in collaboration with IBM, is built on highly secure infrastructure technology with the highest levels of encryption commercially available.
The LSE is not the first European exchange to announce the use of blockchain technology. This year there have been a number of European banks that have said they are using blockchain-based trade finance for SMEs. This includes the American International Group and Standard Chartered Bank.
Eddy Travia, CEO of Coinsilium, a firm that finances and manages the development of early-stage blockchain technology companies, said to Bitcoin Magazine: “Blockchain technologies offer the potential for greater efficiencies and streamlined processes by reducing operational costs through automated transactions and smart contracts, thus removing costs usually associated with intermediaries.”
IBM is seeing blockchain technology as an important part of its security plans. The technology is built on Hyperledger Fabric version 1.0, a blockchain framework. The projects are hosted by the Linux Foundation, and the system will allow sensitive securities data to be shared with permissioned network participants while remaining secure and gated.
Travia added: “Hyperledger is clearly targeting large corporate clients with their permissioned blockchain solution, but in the future it is likely that we will see the adoption of a range of blockchain propositions such as RSK, which offers a balanced solution between true decentralized public blockchains and federated nodes.”
“Sharing secure and transparent critical network data across shareholder networks is difficult using traditional system[s],” said Marie Wieck, general manager of IBM Blockchain, in a statement. “Blockchain [technology] is poised to help remove some of these barriers in traditional methods for the transfer of value — much as the internet did for the exchange of information in the late 1990s.”
Tanzeel Akhtar has held full-time positions in London working for FT Alphaville, Interactive Investor, Fund Strategy, Money Marketing, Mining Journal, Marketing Week and Futures and Options Intelligence.